Hats: Entertainer, Promoter of Happiness, Human Resources Manager
School: SUNY Buffalo State
Major: BA, Human Resources Management
Mission: “To promote happiness, laughter and positive thinking through my words, videos and posts.”
Clifford Owusu is like a breath of fresh air and a shot of inspiration for anyone who underestimates the meaning of happiness. In a world where “ hate” has been more advertised than happiness, it is great to see young individuals who go out of their way to share happiness with others especially while balancing a professional career. Over the past few months, Clifford, a Ghanaian comedian, entertainer and YouTube dance sensation, has captured the hearts of many around the world through comedic performances, which have been featured on Good Morning America and BuzzFeed. With a focus of promoting happiness through comedic displays of his culture, Clifford’s videos are not only uplifting, but culturally-enlightening. I recently caught up with Clifford to discuss his path as an entertainer, however, this young professional had much more than dancing moves to share; as an HR Manager he also shared some insights for recent graduates entering the job market.
1. Where were you six months after college?
I was interning at the place that I am currently working now in the HR department. I’m lucky and blessed to say that I didn’t go through the long period of job search unlike some graduates. After couple of months of interning I was fully hired. The majority of college graduates are going to be hit with denial, I was one of them, however my advice to them is to trust the process,network and do internships during and even after graduation because that’s the only way to get your foot in the door.
2. Describe in 3 words how dancing makes you feel.
1- Happy* 2- Energized 3- Free
3. When did you realize you were funny?
I have been a clown my whole life ever since junior high school. I used to do a lot of parody, write songs and even rap. Growing up the only two people I considered celebrities were Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy. So knowing that you can see why I mashed both my love for comedy and dance together in my YouTube videos.
4. Who supported you to do a video and share it on YouTube?
Before sharing my videos on YouTube, my friends and I used to post them on Facebook.However, after college in 2007, my friend Nana, now my manager, videotaped me dancing to a Ghanaian song and put it on YouTube and next thing you know it blew up.
5. How do you explain to your parents your new-found hobby?
It took them some time to embrace my talents but they eventually came through and are my biggest supporters. As soon as I graduated college, it didn’t matter what I did because I gave them what they wanted; a degree and by that time I had a good paying job. Growing up they made sure that my only focus was my education.That’s why I spent a great majority of my time hiding my CD’s and blasting music on my headphones. I would lie and tell them I’m going to my best friend’s house when in actuality I was in the studio recording. I wanted to become a producer like Diddy.
6. What do you do in your spare time?
There is no spare time, I’m always writing for my next project or traveling or sleeping because the body needs rest.
7. How do you balance your comedic career with your career as an HR specialist?
The good thing is that I’m a hard worker and I don’t like to procrastinate. From Monday to Friday I am strictly focused on my job, but as soon as I get home I’m drafting,thinking or editing videos.
8. Where do you get your inspiration?
Well, making people happy inspires me the most. The fact that I create and write most of my scripts keep me inspired to be original. I try not to watch other people’s stuff because when you’re a creative person you want to be original and once you start looking at other’s work you’re going to focus on what they’re doing.
9. How did you cultivate your fans base?
I don’t like to call them fans, they are more like my friends. Think about it, I invite them every week to my house, but to answer the question I don’t cultivate my fans base; they just come and that’s when you know it’s a blessing from above. That’s one of the questions I love to answer when I hear it, because it amazes me to see how much people love and support my work. For example if you say something negative on my page, my followers will defend me to the point the person will delete the comment and I think it’s because I keep my videos clean, funny and professional. Anyone can relate and watch the videos.
10. What are some of the things you’ve noticed about this generation?
This generation is very entitled, which is a good thing because it means that they are ambitious and want to go far in life. What I’ve noticed being that I’m from the HR side is that a lot of young professionals don’t settle for jobs that don’t fit their values and where they want to be. If they don’t believe in the brand they will most likely leave. Our parents were not like that, they showed loyalty to the organization and made it work. For example my dad worked for the same company for 37 years, our generation wouldn’t even make it to two. * Laughs
11. Do you feel like you’re branding Ghana through your videos ?
I feel like i’m branding the African culture, especially our music. People are finally embracing our culture and I’m glad to be part of this movement.
12. What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
They have a whole semester to start planning, so start right now. Feel free to attend college career fairs, meet with recruiters but also make sure you do the following:
- Network ( classmates, neighbors, counselors)
- Connect with an HR manager on LinkedIn
- Work with a recruitment firm
- Know your craft
13. What would you tell your younger self?
Don’t stop, there will be time when you will want to quit but don’t. Allow yourself to see the bigger picture.Nobody will start supporting you, even your family until strangers starts supporting you. *Don’t stop, keep going, they will come around.
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